Having reviewed my fair share of Windows media centre peripherals over the years, it;s hard not to be somewhat cynical when offered yet another Media Center PC wireless keyboard for review.
Thankfull,y my cynicism proved pointless thanks to the sheer amount of thought Logitech have put into into the Di Novo Mini's design.
While most keyboard manufacturers claim multimedia functionality with their keyboards, in practice typing with these desktop PC sized beasts usually feels more like wrestling with a surfboard on the sofa - which of course isn't much fun. Here's where the scaled-down clamshell design of the Di Novo mini and its integrated trackpad/touchpad really kicks into high gear.
Look & Feel
The Di Novo Mini fits perfectly in the hand, and is easily stylish enough to be kept on the coffee table, rather than hidden away. Opening the Di Novo's clamshell lid reveals a smart-phone sized 63-key keyboard, complete with a control pad/touch-pad.
The control pad easily separates the Di Novo mini from other keyboard contenders in that it eliminates the need for a mouse. Essentially a small round disc located on the upper right of the keyboard, it can be changed from a notebook PC trackpad like type control (which is best suited for accessing menus in Windows media centre, or surfing the web), to a directional four-way controller (that is best used with DVD menus).
In use, the Di Novo Mini felt a lot like handling a smart-phone. Given its petite form factor, I frequently found myself holding it in both hands, using my thumbs for typing, which worked surprisingly well.
Whilst I wouldn't use the Di Novo Mini to type out a novel, its keys were sufficiently large that thumb-typing proved was both accurate and quick. Overall the Di Novo Mini is best suited to the needs of a home theatre PC, where text input tends to be fairly minimal.
Last - but by no means least - the Di Novo Mini also earnt major brownie points by being backlit. Backlighting also changed colour from amber to green depending on which mode the track pad controller was in. This made driving AV gear in dimly lit conditions (e.g. watching a show with the lights down) a complete no-brainer.
Getting Set Up
As a Bluetooth widget, Setting up the Di Novo Mini was easier than falling off a log. Set up on both a Bluetooth equipped windows 7 PC and PlayStation 3 took under two minutes in both instances.
Unfortunately, the Di Novo mini doesn't support the Apple TV or Xbox 360, which is a real shame as it'd really transform the usability of both platforms for multi-media use.
If you're the proud owner of a media centre PC or use a PlayStation 3 to consume media, look no further than Logitechs Di Novo Mini for getting your dose of QWERTY goodness.
Logitech have achieved the tough task of cleverly merging a smartphone sizde keyboard with an intuitive and easy to drive control pad, to transform how you access your media collection.
That the Di Novo Mini is encased in a palm sized package that also happens to be easy on the eye also helps considerably.
Wireless Receiver: USB wireless receiver (Bluetooth)
Size: Depth 88.9mm Width 152.4mm Height 27.9mm Weight 170.1g
Operating Distance: 10 metres